Morale down after state employee salaries published

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Morale has taken a nose dive across Virginia after the Richmond Times-Dispatch published state workers' salaries on its web site. The database went up Sunday as part of a Freedom Of Information Act request.

People who work in state offices aren't happy to say the least. The information is public record, but state employees say the database has created a lot of office tension.

The salaries of more than 92,000 state employees are just a click away. From the governor on down, except those who make less than $50,000. Marshall Terry who goes by James on the database is an audit services manager for the Department Of Taxation. His salary is nearly $75,000.

"You're airing stuff that people generally don't want aired. I certainly don't want it aired but I have to realize it's the law," said Terry.

The Times-Dispatch published the database for a series of articles about the public's right to know about how its tax dollars are being spent. But many see it as an invasion of privacy.

The Virginia Governmental Employees Association has been bombarded by emails from furious state workers. Terry is the association's president.

"Basically the people are very concerned it is creating a morale problem statewide," said Terry.

One worker says people with strong work ethics are both surprised and disappointed when they find out slackers in the office are making more than them.

We spoke with an employee at the Department Of Health by phone who said people are irritated after looking up their co-workers' salaries to the point where some may look for a job outside state government. Terry said it'll be hard for morale to bounce back especially when the state is strapped for cash.

"It's just going to be one of those things we can't correct overnight no matter what's being done because of the state's situation financially," said Terry.

We reached out several times to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, but our calls were not returned.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.